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Thanksgiving Day, by Gale Joy, Chairman
Thanksgiving Day, it means so many different things to all of us. For what are we thankful? To whom do we give thanks? The Thanksgiving Day holiday has been a cornerstone of our history since well before the founding of the United States. In fact, it dates back to 1621 and was held at the Plymouth Plantation by the early Pilgrims that emigrated from Europe.
But what does it mean to you? Are there things in your life for which you are thankful? Personally, I was born and raised in a devout Christian family. As such we didn’t give thanks for our blessing on only one day per year. My family then and many in my family now, give thanks daily to our Benefactor and Giver of Life. We were raised to give thanks not only for our personal belongings and wellbeing; but we gave thanks for our spiritual blessings and even to be living in the greatest country on earth. People from around the world may have differing opinions on whether we live in the greatest Nation on the Earth. However, for my family, both immediate and extended, we firmly believe that to be true and give thanks that we were born here. Since the inception of this country, our ancestors set forth to build a Nation that would span the test of time. They set forth to create a country founded on virtue and based on the foundation of Biblical morals and precepts. The founders of this country and the framers of our founding documents recognized that we needed a government that would embrace and protect our inalienable rights given to us by our Creator. They knew that rights granted by men could and would be quickly denied by ambitious men. They commenced to build a contract to limit men from taking away our rights granted by our Creator. In 1789, George Washington gave his 1st Thanksgiving Proclamation. In it he stated that both Houses of Congress requested that he “recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness." He continued in his Proclamation asking that “we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally, to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.” As you can see, the founders of the United States were not afraid to appeal to the highest ruler of us all to intercede and help us succeed in being the shining city on the hill. It is up to us to continue that endeavor. As we look back on history and look forward to the future, we need to be Thankful for what we have, and more importantly to appeal to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations that we can once again become that bastion of liberty that the founders and framers desired and the beacon on the hill that guides freedom loving people everywhere.